Self Esteem among stars to perform in world premiere of ‘unique’ theatre show

Musician Self Esteem features on a star-studded bill for a new theatre production which will see each artist perform a script they have never seen before.

The world premiere of Echo, which stands for Every Cold-Hearted Oxygen, will run at the Royal Court Theatre as part of London’s international festival of theatre (Lift) from July 13 to July 27.

British singer Self Esteem, real name Rebecca Lucy Taylor, is joined on the line-up by Mr Bates vs The Post Office star Toby Jones, Fiona Shaw from Killing Eve, Olivier Award-winning actress Kathryn Hunter and Meera Syal from Goodness Gracious Me.

Toby Jones
Toby Jones (Suzan Moore/PA)

“The fear is so loud that I know it’s the right thing to do,” Taylor said.

It comes after Taylor landed her first West End role in a production of Cabaret opposite musician Jake Shears, playing the characters of Sally Bowles and The Emcee respectively.

She said: “Alarmingly my gut is telling me to choose interesting and challenging projects when it comes to my acting career.

“I am honoured and terrified to be asked to be a part of this insanely special event.”

The three-week run will see a different performer take to the stage each night with a script they have not seen, which is said to become their guide “as they journey through the story of the playwright”.

Bafta Television Awards 2023
Meera Syal with the Bafta Fellowship award at the Bafta Television Awards 2023 (Jeff Moore/PA)

The production has been written by acclaimed Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour and is directed by Omar Elerian.

The production is said to “confront what it feels like to be an immigrant in time”, where no one travels “yet everybody can be present”.

Syal, who was awarded a Bafta fellowship in May 2023, said: “I had the pleasure of working with Nassim Soleimanpour on Red Rabbit White Rabbit and it is simply a unique theatrical adventure for both actor and audience.

“Delighted to be included in the next journey at the Royal Court with the extraordinary talents of Nassim and Omar Elerian.

“Have no idea what is going to happen – but that’s the magical buzz of this experience. Can’t wait.”

An additional 10 artists and dates for each performer will be announced in the coming weeks, it was confirmed.

Hunter said: “I am excited to be a part of project Echo for Lift at the Royal Court.

“Working with Omar Elerian on Ionesco’s The Chairs was both hugely inspiring and challenging; a leap into the unknown; this project promises to be no less, for performers and audience alike.”